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By Mike Scott
“I don’t think we’re being competitive with other communities,” Kahoka Police Chief Mike Newbold to city council member during their Monday, March 13 meeting.
Newbold has been the lone Kahoka police officer for several month, with no relief in sight. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office helps, but cannot enforce local ordinances, such as nuisances, junk vehicles or dog ordinances.
According to Newbold, other communities are paying officers more, with some even sponsoring candidates through the police academy. Others have signing bonuses, including Keokuk, which is paying up to $10,000 for officers.
Newbold told council members that communities like Canton and Palmyra have programs to pay for police candidates’ schooling.
“The academy costs about $6000,” said Mayor Tony Anderson. “If we paid that, and paid someone $15 per hour, 40 hours per week for the 18 weeks, it would cost the city about $21,000.”
“How can we guarantee they will stay,” asked Alderman Larry Young.
“I think if you found the right person, I’d be more apt to support it,” said Anderson.
“I think we have to try it,” said Alderman John Gaus.
On the advice of City Attorney Brett Bozarth, the police committee will meet to develop a plan to present to the full council at a future meeting.
In other police business, Newbold said the he had mailed five
property and vehicle nuisance letters.
In other business, the council:
•Discussed the parking and sidewalk on the north side of the courthouse.
•Accepted a bid from Prairieland FS to seed the former city farm ground near the airport with grassed. Their bid was $5185.80. The city plans to discharge the lagoon as need onto the field.
•Accepted a bid from James Gray to prepare the ground for seeding and to work the seed in. The bid was $850 for each service.
•Approved advertising for summer help.
•Fire Chief Mick Wood reported that the department received lots of radio gear from Lee County when they replaced theirs.
Wood also reported they received $20,000 in ARPA funds from the state which they have designated to use toward a new equipment truck.
•Alderman Les Billings stated that the city needs more stop signs. The street committee will meet and Bozarth will develop the necessary ordinance.
Billings also reported that dead trees were cut at the ballfield.
•Gaus discussed replacing the city’s stump grinder with an auger.
Gaus also suggested selling a police car.
“We have one cop and three cars. Let’s get rid of one.”
•John William reported that siding on Old City Hall is brittle and needs replacement. He is getting bid for replacement.
•Approved the purchase of new forks for the backhoe.